IN the last two runs before Royal Ascot, Tim Easterby’s Snoano beat just three rivals.
Now the horse – bred by former champion jockey Willie Carson – is the winner of the 16-runner Wolfreton Handicap.
I don’t know where he is – probably at Redcar! He rang before the race.Snoano owner Martyn Macleod on trainer Tim Easterby
The 25-1 win in this 10-furlong handicap was such a surprise that Great Habton-based Easterby was not even present to witness his fifth Royal Ascot winner – and a first for Ryedale jockey David Allan.
As Snoano burst through a gap to land the spoils, it was the precursor to a famous Yorkshire treble – David O’Meara’s Out Do took the Wokingham Handicap before Mark Johnston’s Oriental Fox dug deep in the finale.
Snoano was the first runner at the Royal meeting for owner Martyn MacLeod, who said of the aforementioned Easterby: “I don’t know where he is – probably at Redcar! He rang before the race.
“It’s my first runner at Royal Ascot – not a bad way to start! It’s absolutely fantastic.
“We ran him at Ripon last time – and I know he was off the same mark here – but he just had a bit of interference in that race. It just stopped him from going forward.
“Today he was brave enough when the gap came – he darted into it.”
As for the rider, Allan’s tactics were pre-planned. “He really likes to come through horses and we set off at a good rate of knots,” he said.
“He doesn’t have a lot of early speed so I just brought him in at the end. I was coming through on the inside but he wasn’t happy then I switched out and the gap was there. He was very brave to go in there and he didn’t flinch it for a second.
“It’s hard enough to get a good ride here so to win one is a big achievement. You come down here, take on the big boys and it is not always easy. He has done it well.”
The feature Diamond Jubilee Stakes went to the James Fanshawe-trained The Tin Man, who survived a stewards’ inquiry after a three-way finish with Tasleet and Limato – Richard Fahey’s Growl reared up in the stalls and unshipped jockey Paul Hanagan who was left shaken.
As for Out Do, the horse was winning for the first time in two years, denying the runner-up Steady Pace, whose jockey, Josephine Gordon, was bidding to become the first female rider to win at the meeting since Gay Kelleway in 1987.
Tudhope, who was also recording his first Royal Ascot triumph, said: “I probably got there too soon. You are always worried on this horse.
“He idled a little bit but he did it well in the end. He put it to bed. On this rattling ground, he’s at his best. He needs horses around him and being drawn one was ideal.
“The one thing he does is travel good. He has been campaigned over five and six furlongs – he’s not slow. He’s a very talented horse.
“It’s my first winner here – hopefully the first of many. There’s an amazing atmosphere – it’s breathtaking, really.”
The win is testament to the ability of Upper Helmsley-based O’Meara to get the very best out of his horses.
It was also an unlikely triumph, not least because the forecast rain did not arrive. “It is brilliant,” said O’Meara. “Out Do broke his jaw two years ago and then had a bit of a bad season last year.
“It was touch and go whether we’d get into this race – Monday morning we declared him for Chelmsford, then when the confirmations for here were produced he only had four to come out for him to get a run here.
“So we scratched him from Chelmsford and hoped he’d get in here – we declared on Thursday morning and I think he just made the cut by two.
“The fast ground is a must for him.”